Trump Administration Begins Process of Banning Bump Stock Devices

A bump stock is attached to a semi-automatic rifle at the Gun Vault store and shooting range in South Jordan, Utah, on Oct. 4, 2017. The controversial device was used in the Las Vegas shooting, allowing a semi-automatic rifle to mimic a fully automatic firearm. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)

WASHINGTON (CN) – Just one day before protestors prepare to gather on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., for the March For Our Lives protest, the Department of Justice officially opened the public comment period on amendments to rules that would formally define bump stocks as machine guns.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Friday a newly filed amendment to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives regulations on the devices, would convert the definition of the bump stocks and other “slide-fire” mechanisms like them, as machine guns under the National Firearms Act of 1934 and the Gun Control Act of 1968.

President Donald Trump issued a memo on February 20 ordering Sessions to “propose for notice and comment a rule banning all devices that turn legal weapons into machineguns.”

Filed in the Federal Register, Sessions said in an announcement Friday that the public comment period would be open for 90 days.

“After the senseless attack in Las Vegas, this proposed rule is a critical step in our effort to reduce the threat of gun violence that is in keeping with the Constitution and the laws passed by Congress,” Sessions said.

The attorney general also said he would collaborate with President Donald Trump’s School Safety Commission.

According to the notice of proposed rulemaking issued in February, if passed into law, the rule “would make clear that the term “machine gun … includes all bump-stock-type devices that harness recoil energy to facilitate the continuous operation of a semiautomatic long gun after a single pull of the trigger.”

Once the rule is made final, the devices would be banned and “current possessors of bump-stock-type devices would be required to surrender, destroy, or otherwise render the devices permanently inoperable.”

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